Fylde coast cricket round-up: St Annes swamped on a saturated Saturday
A rainsoaked Saturday edged Blackpool ever closer to the Northern Premier Cricket League title but left St Annes wishing theirs hadn’t been the one match to beat the weather.
While 10 teams in the first division picked up five points each from abandoned or cancelled matches, relegation-threatened St Annes collected nothing from their 10-wicket defeat at Kendal.
Tom Higson’s side were asked to bat in Cumbria only to be sent packing for just 56 in 31.1 overs.
Even that meagre total looked unlikely at 35-9 but number nine Mitch Bolus showed some spirit for his 20, while Nathan Bolus was the only other St Annes player to reach double figures.
Fresh from his T20 double-century six days earlier, skipper Higson was out without scoring, one of seven victims for his Kendal counterpart Chris Miller. These came at a cost of just 20 runs from 12 overs.
Chalana De Silva’s bowling was even more miserly – eight runs from 11 overs – and he took two catches.
A rain delay then saw Kendal’s target adjusted to 55 from 36 overs but they needn’t have bothered with the mathematics as the home openers polished off the runs in barely six overs.
Miller struck an unbeaten 33 from 25 balls and Darren Nightingale 22 off 12 on a comfortable day for the mid-table side.
Defeat leaves St Annes just four points clear of the relegation zone and facing a crunch clash at home to bottom club Fleetwood on Saturday.
Fleetwood had set up an intriguing contest at home to Garstang by reaching 176-6 from 43 overs before the weather put paid to proceedings.
The hosts lost their top three cheaply before captain Adam Sharrocks ledthe recovery with an unbeaten 47, supported by Declin Clerkin (37) after Fleetwood were put in.
Mohammed Yusuf’s three wickets were on the expensive side, costing 65 from 13 overs, though it mattered little.
Blackpool’s second abandonment in three games at home to Chorley maintained their 35-point lead at the top, meaning the title will be theirs if they win any of their remaining three games.
In a match which followed a very similar pattern to that at Fleetwood, the hosts were put in and reached 170-5 before proceedings were halted after 41.1 of the scheduled 46 overs.
Blackpool opener Tomas King made a season’s best 75 and Ciaran Johnson an unbeaten 42, while Gaurav Dhar took 3-48 from his 12 overs.
Paul Danson’s side can seal a record-extending 18th Northern League title with victory away to closest rivals Longridge on Saturday.
Lytham were denied a sixth straight Liverpool Competition victory by the weather after dismissing visitors Colwyn Bay for 61 in 38.3 overs.
The Welshmen did well to reach even that total from 29-7 as Lytham professional Zia-Ur-Rehman Akbar ripped through yet another batting order.
The Afghan’s 7-26 from 19 overs (10 of them maidens) was his best return yet, the eighth time the spinner has taken five wickets or more in 11 games.
But after Zia had removed all of Colwyn Bay’s top five en route to taking his first division wicket tally to 56, Lytham were prevented from capitalising on his latest feat.
They dropped a place to fifth as a result of Birkenhead Park winning one of the league’s two completed games against Fleetwood Hesketh.
Three matches went ahead in the top flight of the Palace Shield as Penrith stretched their lead to 19 points with a 92-run win at Fylde which did nothing to ease their second-bottom hosts’ relegation fears.
The outcome was never in doubt after an opening stand of 118 between Asher Hart and Nicky Burns propelled the Cumbrians to 212-4 in their bid to regain NPL status.
The other promotion place is currently held by Vernon Carus despite their five-wicket defeat by Croston.
A bonus point inched Vernons above Kirkham and Wesham, whose visit to fourth-placed Barrow was among the day’s casualties.
All matches involving Fylde coast clubs in division 1B were rained off, including the second XI relegation tussle between bottom two Great Eccleston and St Annes.
Thornton Cleveleys 2 retained top spot in division two despite a derby defeat at home to Norcross. Abandonments in this division included second-placed Wrea Green’s visit to Gregson Lane.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield premier division: Fylde 120 (U Abrar 39, D Morland 4-28, G Cameron 3-36) lost to Penrith 212-4 (A Hart 83, N Burns 65) by 92 runs, Great Eccleston 79-3 (J McMillan 32no, I Patel 3-21) beat Preston 91 (P Booth 6-45) by seven wickets (revised target), Croston 136-5 beat Vernon Carus 118-9 by five wickets (revised target). Other matches abandoned.
Division 2: Thornton Cleveleys 2 116 (J Northrop 31, R Thomas 3-42, K Fletcher 3-17) lost to Norcross 141-5 (M Griffiths 59) by 25 runs